Colored Pencil Basics
Susan Rubin's lifelong passion for drawing led her to study art and art history at Colorado College and the University of Exeter in England. After graduating, Susan became a product, interior and set designer for her own firms as well as the Discovery Channel and HGTV. In 1990, she discovered colored pencil botanical illustration at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where she’s been teaching for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibits. Susan is represented by Spark Gallery in Denver.
Cynthia Knox is a professional colored pencil and graphite artist whose work has received numerous awards at national and international juried exhibitions. Along with creating commissioned work and being featured in art magazines and websites, Cynthia teaches art techniques to individuals and large groups. She's also published a number of instructional art books, including The Art of Colored Pencil Drawing, Flowers in Colored Pencil, Pencil Drawing Step by Step and more.
01: Class Preview
Completely new to colored pencils? Join illustrator Susan Rubin as she helps you navigate the basics from choosing the best beginner-friendly supplies to completing four drawing projects: a pear, leaf, persimmon, and tulip. With Susan’s techniques and step-by-step guidance, you’ll soon be creating your own colored pencil drawings with confidence!
02: What You Need: Colored Pencils
Get started with a colored pencil primer as Susan explains the history behind colored pencils as well as the various types available, including which brands and palettes are best suited for beginners.
03: What You Need: Paper
Follow along as Susan goes over the different types of paper and their various qualities, including the best ones for colored pencil beginners.
04: What You Need: Other Tools
Review everything else you need to get started from pencil sharpeners and erasers to blending pens, waxed paper, and more.
05: Method: Mark-Making Basics
Now it's time to put pencil to paper! In this lesson, Susan covers basic mark-making techniques to help you create different visual effects. Learn how to make effective strokes as you practice applying pressure to your marks.
06: Method: Layering and Edges
Continue exploring mark-making techniques as you learn to use a limited palette to mix, layer, and create any color! After that, Susan shows you how to create clean edges for clear, convincing shapes.
07: Method: Reference Tips
Find out how to edit and adjust your photos so you can get the best reference possible. Plus, learn how to achieve great reference material using your smartphone!
08: Method: Color Basics
Ready to dive into color? Explore the basics of color terminology as you learn to create a color wheel.
09: Method: Next Steps with Color
Continue your color exploration by learning to adjust value and saturation. Susan shows you how to shift color to light, dark, bright, and dull.
10: Make It: Pear, Part One
Start your first project, a green pear, using just three colors, none of which are green! Susan helps you create a value study (which will act as a roadmap for your finished project), transfer the image, select the palette, and put down the initial layers of local color.
11: Make It: Pear, Part Two
In this lesson, finish up your pear by building colors and depth. Find out how to fix mistakes, shade convincingly, and create texture with blending. And see how to replicate tiny dots and break up large areas of color for a more realistic look.
12: Make It: Leafy Greens
Practice mixing rich green hues as you start your second project, a green leaf. Susan guides you through drawing, value study, and effective color selection. Then she helps you emboss vein lines on your leaf; layer for blended color; create shaded areas; and depict 3-D forms and realistic, shiny texture.
13: Make It: Persimmon
Following the same process as above, start your third project, a persimmon. But this time, add underpainting. Susan shows you how to cover large areas and create the fruit's unique textures, such as the white bloom.
14: Make It: Tulip
Wrap things up with your final and most challenging project, a tulip. Start by underpainting the color, then build layers slowly, creating effective shadows and color harmonies along the way.
15: Class Preview
Improve all of your colored pencil drawings! Learn easy, empowering techniques for color mixing, application, and more.
16: First Steps
Meet your instructor, Susan Rubin, and see how to set up a successful workspace for drawing comfortably. Then learn the difference between student-grade and artist-grade colored pencils and why you might use one or the other. Finally, practice controlling your pencils to create color gradients, tones, and textures.
17: Color Basics
Learn all about color! Begin with creating the color wheel as Susan helps you understand complementary and analogous color relationships. Then start to layer colors for your own color palette. Susan also helps you to avoid color-mixing mistakes.
18: Luminous Color Layering
Create a color recipe book with Susan's technique for layering colors and labeling your pencils for future reference. Then, learn Susan's mixing and topping trick for brightening or subduing color combinations. Finally, learn how to use a white pencil to create tints and expand your color palette even more!
19: Surface Textures in Colored Pencils
Learn Susan's tricks behind using unique tools, such as wax paper and baby oil, to create more kinds of texture on paper. Achieve a smooth, finished look with a blending pen. Use a colored pencil resist for drawing leaves on a tree and the stumble stroke for branches. You'll also see how to capture light and dimension in water droplets!
20: Color and Texture Come Together
Combine your color and texture techniques to draw cherries! Learn to mix colors to match and plan a palette of colors. You'll see how to underpaint to allow the base coat to shine through, then use burnishing pencils to create a smooth, shiny cherry.
21: Background and Atmosphere
Complete your cherry study with a textured background of complementary colors! Then, add realistic shadows to provide depth to the cherries and learn why shadows aren't made with just black colored pencil. Finally, learn techniques for laying down the background before starting the subject.
22: Bright and Bold Colors
Learn how to make the perfect bold and bright shade with Susan's layering technique. You'll color a gorgeous yellow flower using all the techniques and tools Susan has shared with you and master shadows and shading throughout the flower. Finally, make your colored pencil drawing last with fixative.
23: Class Preview
Draw textures so lifelike, you can feel them! Recreate the appearance of fruit skins, metallic surfaces, woodgrain, fur, fabric, and more.
24: Organic Textures
Start things off by learning the essential colored pencil techniques you'll use to create all of the textures in class. Cynthia will cover techniques for varying pencil pressure, burnishing, and layering values. Then, render the surfaces of fruits to practice achieving shiny and dull textures and a range of values and tones.
25: Uneven Surfaces and Markings
Fruit serves as the perfect subject for studying uneven surfaces and markings such as dimples, dents, and more. Learn how to apply small highlights and soft blending to achieve these looks, and practice creating random dots and jagged linear markings to indicate freckles and distress lines.
26: Metallic Textures
Love the look of shining silver? Find out how to recreate it by layering from the darkest dark values to the brightest highlights. Then, employ a warmer palette to capture the look of brass objects. Cynthia will even help you heighten the realism of your metallic textures by incorporating fine details.
27: Wood Grain and Branches
Mimic the complex look of wood grain and the intricate knots found in trees with Cynthia's guidance and professional tips. Along the way, you'll discover how to carve lines into paper to separate grain lines from background blending and define form and shadows as you render knots and tree hollows.
28: Fur and Feathers
Use firmer pencil pressures as you see how to create the look of sleek, long fur, and experiment with lighter pencil pressures to achieve short, wispy, fuzzy-looking fur. Then, Cynthia will share tips for drawing all types of feathers accurately by developing shadows and dimension.
29: Fabric and Leather
Cynthia shares techniques for capturing the look of different fabrics and more. You'll find out how to draw both shiny and distressed leather. Plus, build confidence capturing the characteristic stitching and feel of denim, and practice drawing negative space to recreate delicate lace patterns.
30: Class Preview
Draw radiant, true-to-life flowers that pop off the paper. Learn techniques for matching colors, shifting values, layering, blending, burnishing, and more.
31: Layering, Blending, and Burnishing
Meet artist Cynthia Knox as she introduces you to the amazing colored pencil techniques you'll learn throughout this class! Gain helpful insights into color theory, blending techniques, and the burnishing method, which creates a gorgeous painterly effect.
32: Working with Reference Photos
Learn how to select and edit a reference photo that you'll draw from and how to transfer it to drawing paper using Cynthia's helpful tips. Next, discover an easy and nearly foolproof way to create and catalog color swatches that perfectly match corresponding areas of your reference photo.
33: Value and Fixing Mistakes
Turn your focus to value in this lesson, which covers ways to identify and recreate shifts between shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. Cynthia helps you refine your burnishing technique as she covers a variety of ways to build up layers of color or remove colors that you don't like.
34: Adding Dimension
Add more depth and dimension to your drawings using carefully developed color and value shifts. Cynthia shows you how to make your flowers look like they're popping off the page and demonstrates ways to create deep shadows and intriguing details like water droplets. She also shares easy but ingenious tips for identifying value more easily.
35: Blurring and Blending
Expand upon the skills you've developed in prior lessons as you use brandishing to push elements into the background and blend midground details to create a lovely, natural-looking blurred effect. Next, explore the versatile medium of watercolor pencils, which can blend seamlessly with the color you've applied in pencil and infuse a lovely, looser quality to your work.
36: Natural Shadows and Leaves
Turn your focus to the flower's leaves as you learn how to add dimension and realistic effects to a variety of leaf shapes. Add details like ridges, stems, and new layers of color to make your leaves spring to life on the page, and apply Cynthia's pro tips for adding shadow and movement.
37: Dramatic Backgrounds and Petal Veins
Focus on the direction and pressure of your pencil strokes as you learn how to create a dark, even tone for your background. Cynthia also illustrates ways to create realistic full petals with nuanced vein lines that suggest movement and rich texture. You'll finish the lesson with a bevy of new techniques that will help add drama, nuanced detail, and gorgeous form to your works.